WTF Friday: Cliven Bundy Aftermath

The bold, bright future of the Texas Nationalist Movement
The bold, bright future of the Texas Nationalist Movement

BUNKERSVILLE, Nevada (WTF FRIDAY)—The Bundy Ranch debacle—Jesus, what a stuffshow, guys—falls outside the strict jurisdiction of the Observer staff who curate WTF Friday, but let’s take a minute to point and laugh at the Texas elected officials who decided to hitch their stars to ol’ Cliven Bundy, the beef-making welfare queen who briefly became a right-wing cause célèbre before wondering out loud if “the Negro” was “better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

That left Bundy’s former superfans running. Texas’ junior senator Ted Cruz said before the incident that Bundy’s plight was “resonating” with Americans because it was the “unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government on,” but he quickly denounced Bundy’s remarks. So did gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott, who used the moment to pick his own fight with the BLM.

But one Texas politician took longer than the rest: Gov. Rick Perry. And that’s doubly weird, because he seems to be running for president, and the last time he did that he ran into a lot of unnecessary trouble over some N-word issues of his own.

Before, Perry had essentially blamed the BLM for having guns pointed at the Bundy family: “I have a problem with the federal government putting citizens in the position of having to feel like they have to use force to deal with their own government,” he said.

But when Bundy became toxic, he characterized him as a distraction on a CBS morning show.

“I don’t know what he said, but the fact is Clyde (sic) Bundy is a side issue here compared to what we’re looking at in the state of Texas,” Perry said. “He is an individual. Deal with his issues as you may.”

Perry’s spokespeople denounced Bundy’s remarks later, after “Rick Perry defends Cliven Bundy” became a thing. Perry may actually not have known what Bundy said, but the idea that he went on TV to talk about Bundy without pulling up Google News—or being told anything about it by his staff—is pretty weird. Oops.

Politicians may be dumping their remaining stock in Cliven Bundy, but here, militias are going about their business with renewed vigor. Our friends at the Texas Nationalist Movement are thinking about the future:

Where Are the Noble Men and Women? What does a noble man or woman look like?

Accompanied by a picture of a sword-swinging suit of armor, someone on the Texas Nationalist Movement’s blog recently contemplated the lack of moral fiber Texans exhibit when they remain mysteriously unwilling to join the Texas Nationalist Movement. The author recalls making a pitch to a prospective new “blue-shirt.” The prospect was mad at the federal government, sure. But he lacked passion. He wasn’t ready to pick up the sword.

This is, in the estimation of those within my community, a fine upstanding man. But yet, a man who sees the injustice and enslavement not only he suffers under, but also the injustice and enslavement he is leaving for his kids and grandkids to suffer under, and accepts it without a struggle save his hallowed “Anti-Establishment vote”.

Yet, I remember just a few short years ago, when I too gathered under the “mother hen” political movement to effect change in the federal government. I have not always acted noblely, of the highest character. And here I am, joined in lockstep with noble men and women in the Texas Nationalist Movement, working to awaken others to nobility of character.

Last week, the Texas Nationalist Movement’s appointment of a new “cultural director,” and the use of the term “blue-shirt”—most famously associated with fascist movements of the 1920s—made the group look oddly sinister. In just a week, they’ve become Renaissance Fair re-enactors.

The TNM may be sharpening their broadswords and delicately washing their lords-and-ladies kerchiefs, but up in North Texas, they settle their political disputes the new-fashioned way—tendentious Facebook screeds. Seriously, what’s in the water up there?

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Bud Kennedy flags this exchange between Arlington City Council member Charlie Parker and Tony Tinderholt, the tea party candidate for House District 94. Arlington’s city council recently passed two measures that infuriated open carry activists—one which added language to an already-existing ordinance that prohibits protesters from handing out literature to drivers at intersections, and one that prohibited guns from being carried into city council meetings. Tinderholt didn’t like that one bit, accusing Parker of capital-T Tyranny, and apparently a whole lot else besides:

You are only demonstrating the lack of cerebral cortex that is rampant in your constituents. Don’t make that mistake. The comment about my wife is only evidence of the lack of mental capacity within your gang. The spineless attempt to devalue a marriage of 39 years, of which I’m sure YOU can appreciate, is a desperate attempt of broken logic and despicable behavior. […] If you continue to saddle up with these vermin, your political future may be very short.

What did Tinderholt say about Parker’s wife? Do we really want to know, WTFers? Sometimes you gotta know how to quit when you’re ahead. Just ask Cliven Bundy.

Christopher Hooks is a freelance journalist in Austin, where he grew up. His work has appeared in Politico Magazine, Slate, and Texas Monthly, among others. He graduated from The New School in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in history.

You May Also Like:

Published at 5:14 pm CST